The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), the youngest opposition force on the island, held its first National Convention in Taipei on January 10th, 2021, one year after it won five at-large seats in the 2020 legislative elections.
Physician Ko Wen-je (born 1959), who as an independent candidate was elected Mayor of Taipei on November 29th, 2014 and reelected on November 24th, 2018, helped to found it on August 6th, 2019 and acts as its first and current Chairman.
It’s named after the Taiwanese People’s Party, which existed from 1927 from 1931 during the colonial period from 1895 to 1945 and was the brainchild of anti-Japanese activist Chiang Wei-shui (1890-1931).
Former Tainan deputy mayor Tseng Hsu-cheng (born 1961) sponsored a petition in August 2019 to stop Ko from “muddling history” by reusing the name, which passed its initial legal review, but apparently failed to collect enough signatures to require an official response.
At the event, Ko made it clear that that the TPP isn’t a one-man party, a Ko fan club or a short-lived phenomenon: it will lead Taiwan forward for a long time. Ko urged TPP members to defend the principles of honesty, openness and integrity, setting an example for others to follow.
Hoping for a more rational, practical and science-based Taiwan, the TPP is preparing to eventually become the ruling party while pursuing “an inclusive society and national governance”.
He criticized the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as a “double standard party,” which was weak when facing foreign relations, but overbearing when facing domestic issues, using in the process a mixture of hipsterish and threatening language.
On the other side, the Nationalist KMT as the largest opposition party failed to promote clear discussion of Taiwan’s key issues and provide problem-solving solutions. Instead, it was trying to turn itself into a social movement to get a chance to vent feelings.
In the context of the ongoing DPP-KMT debates over the politically motivated lifting last summer of a ban on imported pork from the United States containing ractopamine, a drug used as a feed additive to promote leanness in pigs raised for their meat, Ko pointed out the importance of his party’s goals.
The TPP believes in “management from the source” and “clear labeling” for meat from overseas, and the consumer’s right to choose freely, which he apparently does by largely rejecting the disputed imports.